Not that long ago, being considered a TV actor or actress often had a slightly negative connotation to it. And if the TV star was unable to make the jump to the big screen after appearing on a hit TV show, they may have been deemed somewhat of a failure.
But the rules of the game have totally changed in recent years, with many big movie stars actually opting to star on a hit TV series, while others enjoy successful careers flipping back and forth across multiple platforms.
This is largely thanks to networks like HBO and AMC, who turn out one outstanding series after the next. Not to mention that online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have popularized binge-watching, where they often drop all the episodes of their original shows at once, turning them into more of a ten-hour movie than a week-to-week series.
Just earlier last year, A-list actresses Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman decided to make a jump to the small screen for HBO’s Big Little Lies — a show which received critical acclaim and earned them a number of awards.
So let’s see which TV starlets you favor the most and find out which show is one of your all-time favorites!
1Is Emilia Clarke one of your favorites?
Not too many people had ever seen Emilia Clarke before she nabbed the role of Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s Game of Thrones. But now she is one of the hottest TV stars of her generation who has slowly been making her transition to the big screen.
2Is Zooey Deschanel one of your favorites?
You may have seen Zooey Deschanel in movies like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and (500) Days of Summer. But since 2011, she’s helped write, produce, and star in her FOX sitcom, New Girl, where she plays protagonist Jessica Day.
3Is Emmy Rossum one of your favorites?
Before gaining mainstream success through her TV career, Emmy Rossum held supporting roles in a number of hit movies, like Mystic River and The Day After Tomorrow. She currently portrays Fiona Gallagher on the massively popular dramedy series Shameless, which just finished its eighth season.
4Is Alyson Hannigan one of your favorites?
Alyson Hannigan has been a part of popular franchises on both the big and small screens. She played Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie movies, and Lily Aldrin on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
5Is Hannah Simone one of your favorites?
Hannah Simone began her TV career back in the early 2000s by appearing in guest spots in a number of smaller shows. But she finally broke into the mainstream with her performance as Cece on Fox’s New Girl. The show is currently in its eighth and final season.
6Is Emma Roberts one of your favorites?
After gaining widespread recognition in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous, Emma Roberts made her jump to the big screen, appearing in films like Nancy Drew, It’s Kind Of a Funny Story, and Scream 4. But she’s since returned to the small screen with shows including Scream Queens and American Horror Story.
7Is Summer Glau one of your favorites?
Summer Glau became an unlikely action star after appearing as the mysterious River Tam on the cult classic series Firefly. Since then she has popped up in a number of other action and sci-fi series, including Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse, and Arrow.
8Is Kat Dennings one of your favorites?
The first time you may have taken note of Kat Dennings is when she appeared as the daughter of Steve Carell’s love interest in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Since then she has carved out quite the career for herself, appearing in everything from Thor to her own sitcom, 2 Broke Girls.
9Is Allison Williams one of your favorites?
Daughter of famous news anchor Brian Williams, Allison Williams first broke big by landing a role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Girls, where she played the often-awkward Marnie Michaels. She has more recently popped up on the big screen with 2017’s Get Out.
10Is Caity Lotz one of your favorites?
Before she began to play a prominent role in CW’s Arrowverse TV series, Caity Lotz had popped up in a number of supporting roles in well-received TV shows. These included Law & Order: LA and Mad Men. She continues to play Sara Lance/ the White Canary on Legends of Tomorrow.
11Is Natalie Dormer one of your favorites?
After landing a brief role in the blockbuster superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger, the following year British actress Natalie Dormer popped up as Margaery Tyrell on HBO’s Game of Thrones. She appeared on the show for three seasons before meeting her demise.
12Is Lauren Cohan one of your favorites?
American actress Lauren Cohan landed the role of Maggie Greene on AMC’s massively popular survival horror series The Walking Dead. She made her debut in season two and is still going strong despite most of the series regulars being given the ax in the last few seasons.
13Is Sofia Vergara one of your favorites?
Because she is part of a such a large cast on ABC’s Modern Family, you might be surprised to find out that Sofia Vergara is by far one of the highest-grossing TV actresses of all time. This is largely thanks to the number of successful ad campaigns she's appeared in.
14Is Mila Kunis one of your favorites?
Pretty much everyone knows that Mila Kunis’s acting career seriously began when she landed the role of Jackie Burkhart on That ‘70s Show. But she’s had a successful career in TV animation, where she has long provided the voice of Meg on Fox’s Family Guy.
15Is Melissa Benoist one of your favorites?
After appearing as one of the main characters on seasons 4 and 5 of Glee, Melissa Benoist landed her role as the title character on The CW show Supergirl. She has also appeared as Kara Danvers in a number of other Arrowverse shows, including The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
16Is Florence Faivre one of your favorites?
Florence Faivre is a Thia-French actress who first entered the mainstream after landing a leading role in the SciFi Network series The Expanse. Since then, she has also popped up in Time After Time as well as Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.
17Is Morena Baccarin one of your favorites?
Before she was playing Ryan Reynolds’ love interest in both Deadpool movies, Morena Baccarin starred in a number of sci-fi/ action series. These included Firefly, Stargate SG-1, and V. She’s more recently popped up in Homeland and Gotham as well.
18Is Hayden Panettiere one of your favorites?
Hayden Panettiere has certainly come a long way since her Remember the Titans days. Though she rose to stardom through her performance as Claire Bennet on Heroes, she has received the most critical acclaim for headlining the musical series Nashville.
19Is Adrianne Palicki one of your favorites?
After appearing in the NBC sports drama series Friday Night Lights, Adrianne Palicki’s career took a turn toward more sci-fi and action franchises. She’s since appeared in the shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Orville, as well as the films Red Dawn and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
20Is Sophie Turner one of your favorites?
This British actress has portrayed Sansa Stark in the epic HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones since 2011. Though plenty of character have had a rough go of things throughout the story, Sansa would certainly be toward the top of that list.
21Is Krysten Ritter one of your favorites?
Many TV lovers first laid their eyes on Krysten Ritter when she appeared as Jane on AMC’s Breaking Bad. After that memorable performance, the actress went on to star in a number of her own series, including ABC’s Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, and Netflix’s Jessica Jones.
22Is Linda Cardellini one of your favorites?
Since the mid-90s, Linda Cardellini has frequently flipped between both TV and film work. She rose to prominence through her leading role on the cult classic series Freaks and Geeks, and has been seen in everything from Mad Men to Avengers: Age of Ultron ever since.
23Is Kristen Bell one of your favorites?
Most good shows take a few years to generate buzz, but Kristen Bell’s latest TV outing, The Good Place, acquired a very solid following upon its debut in 2016. The show has recently been renewed for a third season, which will premier in the fall of this year.
24Is Emily VanCamp one of your favorites?
After popping up in two Captain America movies (The Winter Soldier and Civil War), Emily VanCamp returned to TV to headline her own series, The Resident. She previously appeared in a number of other shows in supporting roles, including Everwood and Brothers & Sisters.
25Is Alison Brie one of your favorites?
Despite having recurring roles in a number of hit TV shows, including Community and Mad Men, in a lot of ways, it feels Alison Brie’s career is just getting started. This is because she recently appeared in the starring role of the critically acclaimed Netflix series GLOW.
26Is Ellie Kemper one of your favorites?
One of the biggest comedic actress on TV today, Ellie Kemper broke big when she first landed the role of Erin on NBC’s The Office. She currently stars as the title character in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and has appeared in a slew of other popular sitcoms.
27Is Yvonne Strahovski one of your favorites?
Ever since Yvonne Strahovski appeared as CIA Agent Sarah Walker in Chuck back in 2007, it seems like the actress hasn’t been off the TV since. She since popped up in Dexter, 24: Live Another Day, and she currently appears on The Handmaid’s Tale.
28Is Alyssa Milano one of your favorites?
American actress Alyssa Milano is probably best known for playing Phoebe Halliwell on the massively popular WB show Charmed, which ran for 8 seasons. She’s also appeared in My Name is Earl, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, and the upcoming Insatiable.
29Is Grace Park one of your favorites?
Grace Park rose to stardom by landing the role of Sharon/ Cylon Number Eight in the well-received reboot of the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. Since then, she regularly appears as Officer Kono Kalakaua on the CBS police procedural Hawaii Five-O.
30Is Gillian Anderson one of your favorites?
Gillian Anderson is so synonymous with playing FBI Special Agent Dana Scully that we’re sure we don’t have to tell you that X-Files is what made her famous. Although you might not have known that she’s also had an extensive acting career on the stage.
31Is Rashida Jones one of your favorites?
Despite first receiving widespread attention from The Office in 2006, Rashida Jones had already been working steadily in Hollywood since the late ‘90s. She has also gone on to have a successful film career in recent years with her work in I Love You, Man and The Social Network.
32Is Eliza Dushku one of your favorites?
A clear favorite of Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku has popped up in a number of the writer/ director’s projects, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off series, Angel, as well as Dollhouse. She is set to star in the upcoming series The Black Company.
33Is Katrina Bowden one of your favorites?
From 2006 to 2013, American actress Katrina Bowden appeared as Cerie in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Since then, she has appeared in a number of movies on both the big and small screen, including Scary Movie 5 and I Killed My BFF.
34Is Rachel Bilson one of your favorites?
In 2003, this American actress made her small screen debut after anding the role of Summer Roberts on The O.C. The show would go on to received a strong following, making way for Bilson to appear in such films as The Last Kiss and Jumper.
35Is Tina Fey one of your favorites?
After serving as the head writer and a cast member on SNL for a number of years, Tina Fey went on to create her own NBC series, 30 Rock, which centered around a fictionalized live-sketch show. She has also appeared in the films Date Night and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
36Is Gillian Jacobs one of your favorites?
Gillian Jacobs began professionally acting back in the early 2000s, before she landed a star-turning role on the hit NBC sitcom Community. Since then, she has appeared in a number of feature films, including Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and the upcoming Magic Camp.
37Is Emily Deschanel one of your favorites?
You know you’re a lot of peoples’ favorite actress when you’re able to headline a TV series for 12 seasons and over 200 episodes. Which is exactly the case with Emily Deschanel and her crime series Bones, which impressively ran from 2005 to 2017.
38Is Nina Dobrev one of your favorites?
The Canadian actress first received buzz when she popped up as Mia Jones in the CTV series Degrassi: The Next Generation. She’s gone on to star in the massively popular Vampire Diaries series, as well as appear in the feature films The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Flatliners.
39Is Aubrey Plaza one of your favorites?
Though she is mostly known for her film work these days, appearing in such movies as Dirty Grandpa and Ingrid Goes West, Aubrey Plaza first achieved widespread attention for playing April Ludgate in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. She's also recently returned to TV with her role in FX's Legion.
40Is Kaley Cuoco one of your favorites?
After already appearing in a number of popular series, including 8 Simple Rules and Charmed, America actress Kaley Cuoco would go on to receive even more recognition thanks to her main role as Penny on The Big Bang Theory. The show just recently wrapped up its 11th season.
41Is Tricia Helfer one of your favorites?
Canadian actress and model Tricia Helfer first piqued interest when she popped up as Cylon Number Six in the sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica. She has more recently appeared as Charlotte Richards on the Fox series Lucifer.
42Is Jenna Fischer one of your favorites?
Of course, everyone knows Jenna Fischer from playing Pam Beesly on nine seasons of The Office. But have you also caught the actress in the films Blades of Glory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, or her most current show, Splitting Up Together?
43Is Rose McGowan one of your favorites?
Probably best known for playing Paige Matthews in The WB series Charmed, Rose McGowan has also starred in a number of hit films, including the original Scream, Grindhouse, and Machete. In 2017, she starred in The Sound alongside Christopher Lloyd.
44Is Alexandra Breckenridge one of your favorites?
After landing supporting roles in a number of teen comedies throughout the early 2000s, Alexandra Breckenridge went on to have a successful career in TV after she popped up in the anthology series American Horror Story. She’s since appeared on The Walking Dead and currently stars in This Is Us.
45Is Cobie Smulders one of your favorites?
This Canadian actress first won over mainstream audiences with her appearance as Robin on the long-running CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. But she balanced her comedic work nicely by showing up in the MCU superhero franchise with her performance of Maria Hill.
46Is Lizzy Caplan one of your favorites?
After appearing in a number of hit films in the early to mid ‘00s, including Mean Girls and Cloverfield, Lizzy Caplan turned to more TV work, where she’s appeared in everything from Party Down to Masters of Sex. She’s set to star in the 2018 film Extinction.
47Is Kate Mara one of your favorites?
Though she may have only appeared in a little over one season of House of Cards, Kate Mara’s work as journalist Zoe Barnes certainly had a lasting impact on the Netflix series. She’s also appeared in Fox’s 24 and FX’s American Horror Story, along with a number of feature films.
48Is Sarah Michelle Gellar one of your favorites?
Few actress were as big as Sarah Michelle Gellar throughout the last ‘90s and early 2000s. Of course, she had her hit horror series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she also appeared in a number of popular films, including Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
49Is Evangeline Lilly one of your favorites?
While audiences look forward to seeing Evangeline Lilly play a more prominent role as Hope van Dyne in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, you probably first got a look at the actress when she appeared as Kate Austin on the massively popular ABC series Lost.
50Is Kate Walsh one of your favorites?
If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you certainly recognize Kate Walsh from her performance as Dr. Addison Montgomery from 2005 to 2012. But since then, she’s also popped up on the spin-off series, Private Practice, as well as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.